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Brain turning to mush

j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Chronic Pain
Because of meds. And I just can't do anything about it! Sometimes when I'm having a good day. My memory gets selective. And I can only see that good day. And not the bad ones. Or the good ones that start out good and turn to $hit later. So I'm thinking. I need to cut these drugs down or out. And why am I taking them in the first place? And in the good times I'll also think that I'm crossing the line. Would I be able to quit them if things stayed good. You see I'm constantly questioning myself. And worried about taking strong meds. And on the good times I constantly beat myself up over this. And worry about my brain going down hill. And the memory Part of the brain is suffering the most. The craziest part is the good times are far and few between. Could it be selective? Do I want to block out all of the bad during a period when things are good? Do I purposely want to only remember the good and forget the bad. Like a temporary memory block. Do I really think there is something I could be doing to stop the brain fog that's happening? I would have said yes this morning till early afternoon when everything turned to $hit! And now I'm very thankful that I have pain meds. But if things happen to get good for a while tomorrow or the next day. I'll be feeling the same. The more I read this, the more I think it's dumb and I'm just rambling. I know I should hit delete. But I'm going to post it anyway.
Click my name to see my Medical history
You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!


  • Jim you could never sound dumb because you aren't. What you are expressing is something that most, if not all, of us think about. I've often asked myself "what would I feel like if I stopped these meds/do I really need them anymore?" Most of the time I remember that I am doing this for a reason. Other times I wait a few extra hours before taking a dose and then I clearly remember why I'm doing this.

    This is common for just about everyone who takes medication on a long term basis. I have a niece who is bi-polar. When she takes her meds she feels normal. When she feels normal she believes she doesn't need the meds so she stops. It's an ongoing cycle and when she is off the meds it takes a while to remember that it is better on the meds.

    I think it's because we want to be normal. Just not in our cards. So take the meds and be the best you can be. :)
  • You have a lot going on in your life with your dear Mom and having to recupe after doing a good thing by rescuing the kid but triggered a flare up. Maybe if you're feeling better reassess the meds with your Dr. I know I had memory issues while on Lyrica and sometimes with pain meds. I hope you have more better days and it's okay to vent here. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Sorry to hear you are feeling this! Look in the mirror my friend. You are caring for your mom who is in the late stages of cancer. You are dealing with day to day living. You are dealing with your spine issues, and yes sadly, for us drugs/medication/pills are a daily part of it. Add to that most of us don't sleep the greatest. It all adds up. Hang in there Jim. We love ya, and are here to support and listen. Big *HUGZ* :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • and, if I can, I'll explain what I mean.

    Having chronic pain for the past 5 years has put my local GP in a quandry of how to treat me effectively. I tried, with his help, quite a few different combinations of meds. Before surgery, I was on morphine patches, topped up with morphine liquid as/when required. That did help reduce the pain to some extent, but I found I couldn't concentrate on anything at all. I was always forgetting things and had to write things down and leave notes in front of the door (because if I wrote them on the calendar, I'd always forget to look at it!).

    Anyway, after the fusion operation in July this year, I was on different pain meds (and still am). Again, my 'head was a shed'. However, for a brief time (from about weeks 2 - 5) I was off ALL pain meds. I felt free at last and thought my brain would be as good as new. But, the sad truth is that I noticed I still couldn't concentrate and still continued to forget things.

    Maybe it's hormonal, maybe it's an age thing (53) but I've come to the conclusion that there's probably not much I can do about it now. Due to a stupid thing I did when driving, and the fact that I'm far more mobile now, I've been back on pain meds since week 6 (though, thankfully, I don't need the morphine patches/liquid any more). I take amitryptiline at night to help me sleep (and usually, when I can, I'll stop taking them for one night every so often because "I don't want to become reliant on them", ha! The nights I don't take them I usually don't sleep at all! But I still have very bad nights when I do take them. Is it mind over matter, who knows?).

    What I do know is that if, by taking pain meds, you can have more pain-free time, then that to me makes you more 'normal' because you can possibly do more things/be more active/participate socially more than you would if you were in pain. Am I making sense?

    It's not just me. My hubby today lost the ability (every now and then) to think of the right words he wanted to say when we were chatting - and he's not on any pain meds! He got so annoyed with himself and I commented that 'now he knows how I feel most of the time!'

    Don't beat yourself up. If you experience more pain-free episodes, or at least reduced pain, over a particular length of time, then perhaps you can discuss reducing your meds with your doctor. If your current pain meds are responsible for eliminating your pain, then that's got to be better for you overall, isn't it?
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • What did you say again? That was a whole five posts ago...

    Just kidding, I couldn't help myself, but I don't mean to make light of a serious situation.

    I too have been trying to cut down on my meds and have done a pretty good job, but every time I get to a certain point, I realize that it's just too painful to get off of them and am reminded again why I have to take them. Even on days when I'm mentally strong and sit in pain in the evening, not taking a med, my hubby insists I take one because he hates to see me in pain.

    What are we going to do? The only thing is maybe to try a different combination, a different dose, a different med, or keep things status quo.

    Like it was already said here, you've got an awful lot on your plate, my friend, and maybe now is not the time to rethink this. There's a lot of stuff on your mind and to add more worry is to make things even more difficult.

    Hang in there, Jimbo.
  • if you are on gabapentin or pregabalin {lyrica} etc its normal for your head to be forked up! whilst on lyrica i sold a hyundai Tucson for 3 k below what i should have done and bought a ford fiesta .it was the biggest car mistake i made .i am normally on the winning side of car deals .but i convinced myself i was doing the right thing ...i lost 3 k on that deal then bought a hyundai i30 .fantastic car but yet again another mistake because the driver seat was too low !!.so this time ..now off the lyrics i managed to swap the i30 for a 2 year old hyundai Tucson {i still have it and i wont be letting this car go!!} we love our Hyundai's in this house hold
    hope thing get better for you Jim
  • I am with you. The neurotin has me forgetting things all the time. I it very easy to think that you can wean off. If you saw my other post, I am having occassional heartburn, constapation and nausea. It is miserable. Over the last few days I have weaned myself off the naproxen and all pain meds. I am now just taking the nuerotin and still having the problems...but now my foot is more painful than it has felt in awhile and my back is aching. Next will be the sciaticia back. Not sure what to do. The biggest problem is I can't take antacids within two hours of the neurontin so it there is nothing I can do. I definately will not stop taking the neurontin because I think it is responsible for me walking today. I keep reminding myself two weeks to surgery..but I am afraid that I will still have these side effects when I have to take meds after the surgery. It is a circular issue.

    Hang in there.

  • Jim, you do have so much on your mind these days, it's no wonder you forget sometimes. I think it's just human nature, in any circumstance, to block out bad times, and remember only the good. I can tell you, after 18 years in the military, I've had my share of bad times, but for some reason, only remember the good, those few minutes of laughter during an exercise when we've been sleep deprived, eating hard rations and not showered in two weeks, but we only remember those times of laughter and joking around. We are all like that. "remember what a $h!tty go that was?" "Yeah, but remember the thing that guy did that time, that was so funny!" and we laugh all over again. I think that part of it is normal.
    I also think that anyone in pain is apt to be forgetful, no matter what meds they are on as well. Before my surgery, when my pain was at my worse, I was actually on less meds than I'm on now, and my memory was horrible! My license plates were due to be renewed, I had applied online to get my stickers. They came in the mail, I left them on the end table beside my couch and completely forgot about them. In the meantime, I had switched cars with my mom, as mine is standard and I couldn't manage working the shift with my arm, and my stickers were expiring that month. So, I finally remembered to let my step dad know, to find out I had thrown them out!! I also got a speeding ticket, my first couple of days back to work after surgery, I left early as I was in so much pain, thought I paid for it online, didn't, got a reminder in the mail, thought I paid it again, didn't, and ended up with my license revoked due to failure to pay... so a $20 ticket (yeah, I was doing 10km over) turned into about $200 to cover the court fees and to get my license renewed.. How's that for brain fog, lol. By that time I was on neurontin, but my memory problems started when my pain became debilitating. I think it's because that's all we're focused on, it's always nagging us, and breaks our concentration on other things.
    If you're meds are allowing you to have good days, I wouldn't give that up myself, but if you feel strongly about it, discuss it with your doctor and maybe try different doses, and if that makes it worse for you, than you know that they truly are allowing you to have good days. Like others said, don't beat yourself up over the meds, or the brain fog. I have to write things on my calendar on the fridge, in my agenda, and enter them in my PDA so I wont forget!
    Take care, I hope that your pain has settled a little since you came back from your mom's. My thoughts are with you, and your family.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Just wanted to let you know you are not alone. If its not written down I forget it. I can put my kids' stuff on the calendar, but have to remember to check the calendar!! I have tried to develop a back-up system: notes on the calendar and another file (and post-its) to remind me what I need to do.

    Remember (no pun intended) that you are under duress now with taking care of your mom and that kind of stress can wreak havoc with your memory.

    Will be thinking of you,

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    to everyone. You guy are all great. I really have been on overload lately. And besides my mom and family. The pain has been going on too long. Kelly I had to read and reread your post. It really hit home for me!
    I now realise the "light at the end of the tunnel" has just been put out too many times. I try not to dwell on that but, It's always there, in the back of my mind. And the pain just won't leave.
    Lately, I've even gone to thinking it may be something else, besides the meds. And I refuse to put up with anymore pain than I have to. So cutting or Quiting pain meds is OUT! Although I have refused to take any of the nerve pain blockers like Neurontin or lyrica or any of the others. So the fact is, there is nothing to adjust pain med wise.
    But it's gone from notes. To notes to remember notes. To a desk, pocket, and kitchen calender. And now, not being able to finish conversations. I can't concentrate or retain. I can't get out of the house on time. And the list goes on and gets scarier.
    But you've all helped shed light on the subject.
    Thank you, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Good to see you are feeling a bit better. Pain wears us down, and maybe even a bit more when we are awaiting surgery - we want it gone, or much reduced!! I am hoping your light will not diminish! Lyrica is pretty good for me, but weight gain, and memory issues are there for me. Not bad enough for me to stop it and get that pain back.

    Have you mentioned these concerns to your doctor Jim? Maybe they can shed some light, and too, maybe another medication that isn't a memory deterrent? I have a glass display cabinet next to where I use my laptop, and on one of the cabinet glass faces - a zillion sticky notes! :) I hope you get some relief soon. *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I was reading one day that it is the chronic pain that makes up forget...not the meds. I know some will argue about this but....it's what I read while reading about chronic pain.
    I am on very low doses of pain meds and am having the same problem with remembering things too. Your pain has been going on so very long just as mine has.
    Get our pain down and perhaps our memory will improve.
    Patsy W
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    Your a sweet heart! Brenda, you know you are too!
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • j.howie said:
    Your a sweet heart! Brenda, you know you are too!
    You're not so bad yourself darlin! You are a keeper for your family, and for this family....US!!! :) *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • As many have said we are all in the same boat to some degree. It does sound like you have so much going on and are under a great deal of stress. That in itself can cause brain mush. Now throw on top of that your chronic pain issues and then you meds. Of course you are feeling as though you can't remember things. I have learned to keep a pad of paper in almost every room. I have to write everything down or I will forget it. Is it the pain, is it the meds or the fact none of us are getting any younger.
    I think your post probably made alot of us really think since we all have days where we don't remember what happened yesterday. So I was looking back at days when the meds I was taking did not help the pain at all and I would basically be in bed suffering and crying. Well during those times I can tell you for certain I wouldn't have remembered anything anyone told me. So we are in a catch 22 I think. Yes, there may be times that I may be foggy or forgetful after taking my meds but quite honestly I know for certain I can think much more clearly when I am not in so much pain I cannot function at all.
    Certainly something you may want to discuss with your dr if you truly feel it is the meds. However if you realize perhaps this is all due to the stress you are under and you need your meds to have any quality of life consider that before you talk to your dr and he may reduce your meds making your pain intolerable. Obviously that would only add to your problems.
    I would imagine every person on this forum would love to not have to take pain meds but our disabilities are the hands we have been dealt.
    Do you get enough sleep? I am only able to sleep maybe 2 hrs a night if that. I know for certain that makes me feel like a zombie alot of days.
    So much to consider.
    You are in my prayers Jim and I wish only the best for you. If you need to vent you came to the right place we are all here for you.
  • I had to go back to read what I wrote because I forgot... LOL just teasin'. I'm glad that my words touched you, as yours always do with me. I hope that you are feeling better today!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • After giving birth to baby mother senses become sharper but the mother having mush brain can face short term memory loss due to stress and fatigue.
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